The Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra was established to provide entertaining and educational big band enrichment to the Rochester community. Big band jazz is the quintessential fusion of individual artistic expression with large ensemble collaboration. While the group prides itself on finding unique and challenging literature to develop and share, the individual improvisational elements of jazz dictate that each performance is unique and memorable. In jazz we never play our repertoire the same exact way twice.

Founded in 1998 under the direction of award winning composer/arranger Dave Rivello, the twenty-piece orchestra has endeavored to be a relevant part of the vibrant Rochester arts community.  This tradition was expanded by Rivello’s successor, Ron Bowks, who directed the band from 2001 to 2018.  Under his leadership the group recorded its first album, Montage, and became a fixture of the Rochester music festival and dance scene.

Now under the Baton of BJ Comer the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra continues to perform a vast array of traditional and contemporary big band literature in a wide variety of public and private venues across the region. The band released their newest album in May of 2024 entitled “Just Friends”.  You will often find the RMJO at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the Ontario Beach Dance Series, and many other community festivals and concerts around town.

See our show schedule for upcoming events!  See schedule


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Media and Audience Feedback!

Opportunities to hear big band music are plentiful when Gibbs Street transforms into “Jazz Street” at the end of June every year, but at other times such performances feel rare.  That's where the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, with it's new album “Just Friends,” fills a void…. From the get-go, there is a vitality in the orchestra's sound… plenty of credit goes to audio engineer Eugene Bisdikian, who captures the busy arrangements with precision and balance…. Comer and his ensemble play with punchy energy throughout… Jazz fans take notice.   -- Daniel J Kushner, Writer for City Newspaper, 2024